Caleb Samuel Swavely was born at home on November 18, 2010 at 7:33 am. He was 8 lbs 10 oz, and 21 inches long! Our biggest baby yet! He is so very sweet, and he smells sooo good! :) So far he is a very mellow baby. The only time he has really cried is when he has had a little gas. He is an awesome nurser, and helped make my milk come in within less than 36 hours. He was born right on our bed, and spent his first night last night cuddled with his momma right in our bed. I am loving having a newborn again, and loving watching our 3 older boys coo and cuddle Caleb. The babies can't stop saying "baybee" or "beebee" and giving him lots of kisses and trying to poke every little part of his face. Noah loves holding Caleb and talks baby talk to him, and tells him how adorable he is. He keeps saying, "Now you're not in mommy's belly anymore." They are all 4 so precious. WE HAVE 4 BOYS! I can't believe it, and I am head over heels for them all! :) I am meant to be the mother of all boys I think! ;) Caleb did GREAT last night, going about 3.5 hours between feedings. He went right back to sleep @ his 12:30am feeding, and then woke @ 4am to eat, but then didn't go back to sleep until almost 6am, but wasn't crying just quietly and alertly looking around. They say hypnobabies are more mellow, and quiet alert, and he definitely is. He will just open his little eyes and look around without a peep, just taking everything in.
The birth was amazing! Here is the story of Caleb's birth:
On the 15th, 16th and 17th of November I felt a lot of really low pressure, and I felt like the baby was just so low down in my pelvis...just really uncomfortable sensations on my bladder and cervix. I was also having a lot of Braxton Hicks, but they just never materialized into anything productive. I was starting to feel a little impatient, although I was trying my best to be patient, but I talked to the midwife about natural "induction" methods. She suggested a foot massage, and possible acupuncture. I asked her about Castor oil, and she said only to use it if I talked to her first, and she was prepared to come to our house right away because sometimes it works very quick. It also gives you diarrhea, so I didn't want to use that method anyway! And since I wasn't too keen on having needles stuck into me, I told Nick he needed to give me that foot massage!
So, on the 17th at about 9:30pm Nick gave me a foot and leg massage, and pressed on all the pressure points that he knew of. It actually hurt more than it felt good! After the foot massage we then decided to use the tried and true natural method of natural induction...the one all the husbands love to try, if you know what I mean! And wouldn't you know...the pressure waves began RIGHT after our natural "induction"! I told Nick that I thought we may actually have started my birthing time! I was fully convinced when I went to the bathroom a little while later and noticed a little bit of blood on the toilet paper! I said, "Oh my! It's really happening!"
By this time it was about 10:30pm on Wed. the 17th, but Nick wasn't all that convinced that it was really happening. He really didn't want to go to work though, so he was hoping! Anyway, he went to bed, and I tried to go to sleep as well. The pressure waves were coming about every 7 minutes, and I got my iPod and headphones and started to listen to some of the hypnobabies tracks. By about 11:30 pm I knew their was no way I could sleep through the pressure waves. Every time I had one, it commanded my attention, and then just as I would start to drift to sleep another one would come.
At this point I went to call Coley, to let her know what was going on. I wanted her to be able to prepare with her baby and all. When I talked to her she said to go back to bed and try to sleep again, and to call her in another hour if I still couldn't sleep through the pressure waves, or if they got more intense. I then called my mom to let her know when was happening. Of course she then was unable to sleep anymore because she was too excited. I told her to wait a little while more before coming over since I was going to go back to bed again. Well, by 1:30am I had still never gotten back to sleep as the pressure waves were definately getting more intense, so I called Coley. I was 99.9% sure this was the real deal. She asked if I were going to go to a hospital if I would be heading there by now, and I said yes! I told her that by this time at the hospital I probably would have been ready for an epidural, had I not been using hypnobabies, so she said she would get ready and come!
Hypnobabies worked great, and I used it every time to get through each wave. I just turned my lightswitch off, and listened to the Easy First Stage birthing guide. I then called my mom and told her to come down, and that Coley was on her way. It was around 2am when I felt the urge to get into the shower, as I knew the hot water would make me feel even better, and make the waves even more manageable. So I got into the shower before my mom arrived, and it made me feel so good! I just sat on my birth ball in the shower and let the hot water stream right onto my belly.
It was then in the shower at about 2:15am when my water broke! How convenient to be in the shower, right!? It was a pretty big gush too, so it could have done some damage to carpet or bedding! Anyhow, I stayed in the shower until Coley got there at around 3:15am, and then I got out so she could check me. I knew it wasn't really necessary to be checked, but I just mentally wanted to know I was making progress, as the pressure waves were building in intensity. She found me to be about 4cm, and she stretched me to about 5cm. I didn't know you could do that, but she did! It didn't feel too pleasant, but again I just used hypnobabies. It really just gave me something to focus on, a goal, which was to go loose and limp, so that is what I did. At this point I had been able to be totally loose and limp through each and every pressure wave. They were now about 4 minutes apart.
After Coley checked me I stayed in bed for a while to give the hot water a chance to build back up. I was worried it was going ot run out. It made me feel so much better laboring in the shower than in bed, and I would have stayed in there the whole time if it wasn't for the water getting cold on me! The worst part was worrying about the water running out!
Once she arrived, Coley began checking Caleb's heart rate every 20-30 minutes with the Doppler. If I was in the shower when she needed to check on baby, I would just open the door and stick my belly out! It was so nice to be free of any cords or contraptions, and just do what felt best to me, while at the same time allowing my midwife to make sure everything was going well for the baby.
Between 4 and 5:45 am, I continued going back and forth between the bed and the shower, which gave me a good chance to change positions and allow gravity to help bring the baby down. During the times I was in the bed, I craved the warmth of the shower on my belly. The heat just really soothed me. So, luckily my mom found our old hot water bottle and filled it up for me with super hot water! I put it straight on my belly, and even though it burned, it felt good at the same time!
I started feeling nauseous around 5:20 am, and the pressure waves were getting noticeably stronger. At the time I was kind of annoyed that while I was focused on getting through each pressure wave, I now had to deal with nausea as well! Even though mentally I knew feeling sick is a sign that the end is near, I wasn't in the right frame of mind to remind myself of that fact! I also had been nearly silent during every contraction up to this point. Now I made a little bit of noise! No screaming though, just "ahhhh" and "oohhh" sounds. You know what they say?! A good birth includes some of the same noises you'd hear at a good conception! ;)
Anyway, the hot water finally ran out for good around 6 am. I wasn't happy about that at all! No more hot water meant nothing to fill the birth pool with...or so I thought! Coley, Nick and my Mom has started boiling water and carrying it by the pot full to try and fill the pool in time! Rockstars!
By this time the pressure waves were coming every 3 minutes, and lasted for about 60 seconds. So, for anyone who doesn't know about the timing of contractions, that means there is a 2 minute break in between each set, followed by a minute long pressure wave. That isn't a very long break, and a pretty long contraction! I no longer opened my eyes or talked at all between contractions. I was too focused, and exerting so much energy that I didn't want to waste any. I never made a conscious decision not to open my eyes or talk anymore, it just naturally happened once I got to a certain point.
After feeling nauseous for about an hour, I finally threw up at 6:20am. It was instant relief of the nausea, and I never felt sick again. The pressure waves were getting even stronger now, and I did get to a place for just a moment, where I thought I would rather not have a baby today after all! Nick was right there next to me though, and he told me I was doing amazing, and that I could do it! The reassurance was just what I needed, and I pulled it together. Using hypnobabies truly allowed me to maintain control of myself, and allow my body to relax and do its work of bringing my baby out of my body, and into my arms! I also told Coley right around this time that I didn't know how much longer I could keep doing "this", and she said she didn't think it would be too much longer until the baby was born. This was JUST what I needed to hear!
At 6:38 I asked to be checked again. Since this was my first time birthing and actually feeling what was happening to my body, I was unsure of myself. Being in a hospital with an epidural leaves you dependent on nurses and doctors to tell you what is happening to you, and I just didn't trust fully that the intesity of my feelings did indeed mean I was coming so close to meet my sweet baby! Next time I will remember to trust myself! Coley found me to be 8cm. Of course! I had just thrown up, and that is a classic sign that you are in transition, or transformation, as we call it in Hypnobabies!
Right after she checked me, Coley suggested I get up and sit on the toilet for a few contractions. The gravity of being in a squatting type position would probably dilate me the rest of the way, she said. I really, really didn't want to get up. I felt more comfortable being in a postion where I could relax every muscle of my body during a pressure wave. But I wanted my baby at this point! I had been awake for over 24 hours, I was tired, and I was willing to do this if it meant meeting my baby sooner!
So as soon as a contraction ended, Nick walked with me to the toilet. I sat down, and leaned against him, as another pressure wave descended upon me! I will say that this was the most uncomfortable part of the whole birth. I was NOT comfortable sitting in that position at all! So, I managed to hold onto Nick's neck and ride out a few pressure waves sitting there, and then I was done doing that.
It was now 7am, I went back to the bed, and for some reason I just wanted to me on my hands and knees, so that's just what I did! It was funny, because in the months leading up to the birth, I always felt a little embarrassed when I watched birth videos of women on all fours. It looked like it was such a vulnerable position, and I guess it is. But, as much as I didn't picture myself doing this before that day, before that very moment, when my body told me what to do, I listened!
I will also note that I never pictured myself birthing my baby while wearing MY birthday suit. I will definitely wear a sports bra, and maybe even a long shirt of something to cover myself, I thought. Haha. I was totally naked. When you're in that moment you just don't care. My midwife actually told me that most women shed an article of clothing with every centimeter they dilate. I was no exception! It really makes sense when you think about it. It is so important for a baby to have immediate access to his mother's body to breastfeed and stay warm on her skin. Being able to have the immediate and unrestricted ability to do these things were two factors that played into my decision to have a homebirth in the first place, so I say bring on the nudity! I wasn't able to breastfeed or even TOUCH any of the other boys for at least 20-40 minutes after they were born, and I was covered with a nursing bra and a hospital gown anyway!
Then suddenly, at 7:13am, I felt the urge to push! At first I was unsure if what I was feeling was really the need to push. Again, having never felt any of these sensations, it was all new to me! I will never forget the way it felt to feel the very moment where my baby started descending down! I could feel the baby moving down through my body. After just a moment I knew my body was ready to push, and was really pushing without my permission. I couldn't have done anything to stop it, even if I tried. After feeling this urge to push, I cannot imagine a doctor telling a women not to push, or to wait to push. I would have slapped anyone who tried to make me stop! It is such an instinct, and unstoppable!
Nick had been so good at pushing on my shoulder and telling me to relax, which is a sign used in hypnobabies to remind me to stay loose, that as soon as he felt me tensing up to push, he pushed on my should and told me to relax! I said, "I'm pushing!" I think he was surprised and he called for Coley. She then called for mew mom. It happened so quick!
Up until this point I had been planning to try and give birth in the water. Since the water had run out the boiling of water had partially filled the pool, but not enough for me to get in....but it was fine because I had NO desire whatsoever to try and move to a pool once I felt the urge to push! There was no way! I was actually right on the edge of the bed, and I didn't even more over! I was focused, and didn't care where I gave birth anymore...I was just read to push that baby out!
So, I was fully pushing at about 7:20am. It was so crazy because from the moment I felt the urge to push, the feeling of the pressure waves totally changed. They were not as intense any more, and pushing was such a relief, and actually felt good. I think it was the fact that I could finally work with my body, exert my energy and push! I knew I was almost done, and I wasn't going to stop pushing till I had my baby out! I didn't even really wait for anymore contractions, I just kept pushing regardless.
I remember asking Coley if I needed to slow down with the pushing. She said I could do whatever my body felt like doing. I wish I would have just trusted my body more, and not felt the need to ask if I was pushing OK! No woman should have to ask permission how or where to push, and next time I will follow my own instincts more without asking questions!
I was feeling a burning and stretching sensation at this point, and I remember being a little worried that I would tear at the site of my previous two "necessary" episiotomies (thanks Dr. Rodrigues, you suck, even if you are pretty). Coley was using olive oil and warm compresses on me the whole time though. It's amazing the difference it makes when you have someone catching your baby who knows what a natural birth can and should be! I shouldn't have been worrying, because I never tore AT ALL! This was huge to me, and was another reason I wanted a midwife at home, not a scissor/surgery happy doctor in a hospital!
I remember not long after this point that I heard Coley say the head was almost out, and then suddenly, it was! It was the BIGGEST feeling of relief when the pressure of a whole head was reduced to the pressure caused by a little neck! It was almost done now! I rested for just a few seconds, and then pushed again. The shoulders came out, quickly followed by the rest of a slippery little body at 7:33 am! AH! I had my hands right down there as he slipped out, and Coley had her hands under his armpits, and lifted him straight into my arms, and onto my chest! BLISS! The whirl of emotions and thoughts at that moment are hard to describe! Such a flood, so much joy!
Right after birth Caleb wasn't crying and was breathing, but needed a little help perking up, so we were stimulating him by rubbing him a bit with a towel. It was pretty dark in the room still, so the midwife couldn't see his color very well. We hurried and switched on the light, and then she could see right away that he was already nice and pink! He wasn't crying because he was just way too comfy, and peaceful after such an easy birth!
About this moment Nick said "it" looked like a boy! He couldn't actually see the important part, but he thought the face looked like a boy! My hand however had felt something that seemed suspiciously boy-like as I helped to pull the baby up onto myself! A quick check confirmed that our sweet baby was indeed a boy! My reaction: I knew it! I just knew we'd have another boy!
The boys all came in right away to see their new baby brother! They were all so excited, although Noah was actually a minute or two behind the twins because apparently he wanted to finish the end of Backyardigans! Ha!
So then I just held and loved on Caleb for about 30 minutes while we waited for the placenta to come out, and Caleb's cord stayed attached that whole time. Then, after the placenta was out, and the cord had obviously stopped pulsing, I cut the cord myself! Nick never wants to because he is a bit squeamish! I was still on the very edge of the bed too! We tried breastfeeding during this time as well, but Caleb wasn't quite read to nurse.
So about an hour post-birth I hopped up off my own bed and took a shower. After my shower Caleb was ready to nurse, and he nursed like a champ right off the bat!
Caleb's birth went just as I had hoped, prayed, and imagined, and I will definitely choose a homebirth again next time! :) I loved that the boys were able to bond with their new brother right away, and we got to stay cozy at home all together from the get go. This day is priceless!